Chris Hayes


Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Started Chasing: 2002

Bio: My interest in severe weather began as a kid. I was terrified of storms so my dad would take me out on the front porch to watch storms so I wouldn’t fear them. My fear quickly disappeared and was replaced by fascination and love. I started going on vacation to Oklahoma in 97 in hopes of seeing storms, and started actively chasing in 2001 and especially 2002. I chased a couple weeks per year up till 2008 and again in 2010. I finally made the big move to Oklahoma City in 2013.

Favorite Storm Chasing Photos

Favorite Chase Video

Chaser Q&A

How did you realize your love for weather?

I was terrified of storms as a kid until my dad showed me there was nothing to fear of lightning and thunder. My interest in storms quickly turned into a love for weather in general

When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?

During the mid 90s when I started collecting storm chaser videos, and especially the late 90s when I started coming to Oklahoma to see storms.

How long have you been actively chasing (in years)?

12

Do you chase for a reason?

To learn more about storms, photography, and shear love of storms in general

Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?

I’ll chase solo, but prefer a partner for safety and easier to coordinate everything

Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?

No

How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?

I got no problem with people wanting to chase and getting into it. I’m second or third generation. My only concern is people not following chaser ethics. Especially on the road.

How far are you willing to travel for a good set up (in miles)?

300

What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?

Favorite areas are certainly western Oklahoma and southcentral Kansas. Least favorite is Missouri.

What is you favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?

Dryline is favorite for sure. Not sure about least favorite.

What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?

My most memorable chase day would be a tie between the supercell that produced the Mulvane area tornadoes on June 12, 2004 and the May 23, 2008 Kansas tornado outbreak and the tornado we saw at Quinter. Least memorable, hmm, any blue sky bust

Have you ever feared for your life?

Never really feared for my life but got really nervous once. On June 12, 2008 we were storm hopping in central Kansas. I got us into position to see a supercell that was moving northeast towards us. I decided I wanted to put some more space between us and the storm so we stairstepped northeasteward. I got us on a road with a sign that said “road not maintained drive at own risk.” We got to 77 and it sounded like there was mud in the tire. It was starting to shred! We pulled over and got overrun by the storm. It went tornado warned but I was pretty sure we were safe from any tornadoes. We ended up changing a tire in the rain.

Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E – core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)

I’m not into core punching that much, but I especially am not a fan of being in the bears cage.

Do you have any superstitions?

Nope

Would you sacrifice a salaried job with full benefits, but only 2 weeks out of the year to chase for a paycheck to paycheck life with unlimited chasing?

No

Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?

Nope

Have you ever been to ChaserCon?

I went in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009

Are you more likely to hang out with other chasers while waiting for initiation, or sit alone on a country road watching the sky?

I love meeting up with other chasers at gas stations, the side of the road, or wherever

What is your favorite storm chase and why?

June 12, 2004 because of the quality of the tornadoes and the storm structure.

How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?

Books and just doing it.

How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?

I would like it if the media would cover the good chasers do rather than just what they do bad especially in regards to roads

Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?

Seasoned and veteran chasers like Bobby Prentice, Tim Marshall, the late Jim Leonard, etc. They inspired me to chase

What do you fear most about a storm?

Lightning. Hands down

Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?

I wish lol

Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?

Yep. My grandpa was my chase partner for a number of years, and the rest of my family knows my passion

How long do you plan on chasing?

As long as I can

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